Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Year of the Meniscus

In mid-December I was in Faber, VA. I had taken an pre-meeting walk to get ready for the day, and found myself laying by a river watching the water pour down and over some rocks. Not that this was a particularly new sight, but I really noticed something... the way the water sticks together. It's surface tension holds itself together, creating a sense of cohesiveness, to spite it's liquid state that makes me think it shouldn't be able to do that. It should fall apart, separate, spill... it should be chaos.

What am I talking about? well, do ya'll remember being in science class (cira 3rd grade, maybe) and learning about the meniscus?
{thanks for the image, wikki}

It's the specific curve created when you over fill a glass of water, but it doesn't spill out. This act is a fine line, just a drop too much and--- chaos!! there is water dripping over the edge and you've gotten the counter all wet (the horror). So, now that we're on the same page of the science behind my statement (err, are we?)- I'll elaborate.

This year, was the year of the Meniscus.

This year, was more packed than I ever imagined it could be. My glass was filled- past the top. But just barely, because I'm pretty sure it didn't turn into chaos (at least not the bad kind). I'm also pretty sure, that if anything more happened in 2011, chaos would be had. Or, at least I would have spent (more) time huddled in the fetal position thinking there was NO WAY i'd be able to do this. Whatever 'this' is...

I did a lot of moving around...
  • I lived in Rock Creek, WV (Jan-July), Machias, Maine (July-Sept), in a truck- midwest style-(Sept-Nov), and in central Ohio (Dec)!
that- is a lot of places to live, a lot of beds to sleep in, a lot of kitchens to feed people in, and a lot of places to consider home- some for the long haul, and some of them with the understanding that a sense of home is short lived there.

In that time, I've (under failry strict meaning of the word) considered myself to have 22 housemates. WAY more if you consider folks who often stayed in a house i lived in, tented in a yard i lived in, or spent more than a week living together (say Blair Mountain).
  • Spent time in 19 US states (Ohio, Maine, WV, VA, New York, PA, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, Washington DC, North Carolina, TN... at the least. I just can't fully recall...
  • I went to Canada 3 times
Which, prior to 2011, I had been out of the country 0 times. I went once for an anti- fracking protest in New Brunswick, and crossed the border 2ce on fall tour.

I had the boarder patrol read my diary, and had the fear of god put into me (and probably for Nikki and Tyler, too) when a boarder patrol-er came from around the counter towards us, snapping on a rubber glove and asked 'which one of you had to go to the bathroom?'

Ah! none of us. not us, no sir, no way. I totally thought we were getting searched, like, really searched (we weren't)

I did a lot of work, or things I call work, or think of as work, most of the time, or at least some of the time...
  • WV based work...
  • programming co-coordinating for the March on Blair Mountain, with the amazing Becks, where we planned, scratched, replanned, canceled, planned again and mostly implemented the non-logistical schedule for the March on Blair Mountain (like evening speakers and musicians and the rally schedule and line up)
  • I worked on the media team- mostly pre-march- and got practice in doing outreach in new and exciting ways, with a amazing and talented group of people (did you see the media that came outta the march!?! it was SO good!)
  • I did door-to-door outreach in southern WV for the march. Both exciting and (at the time) scary.
  • At CRMW I worked in small and large ways to revamp the Volunteer process- as the (what ended up being short term) volunteer coordinator
  • I helped plan the programming for Mountain Justice Summer camp, and also did some work in with the group as a whole (like helping to facilitate)

  • Beehive...
  • Did over 60 beehive presentations- mostly the True Cost of Coal
  • Work party- i helped host and run a month long marathon workparty for... so many people. i actually don't have a number, but not including the ball, i'd say over 100 came through for at least a while. a steady 60 people.
  • facilitated the baking of hundreds of baked good for the bfb
  • helped host, organize, and throw a 1000+ person dance party (blackfly ball)
  • successful wrote and received my first grant- from NEST- for bringing a Klezmer band to the bfb
  • Beehive Meetings- I did the most intensive, aggravating, and skill pushing agenda setting, planning, and facilitating thus far in my life during the january beehive meetings; played a similar (but more minor) role for our May meetings; and was in another intense (in a different way) set of 2 week meetings this Dec. We met a lot.
  • i went on a mini research trip on fracking- in the Pittsburgh area. Where I learned a lot, and really began to question if i have the option of not living in ohio (i later decided, no. not really)

  • other things...
  • I was elected to the Ohio Alliance for People and the Environment (OAPE) board, and have begun doing work with them.
  • sent 2 million and 3 emails (thats a joke. mostly)
I also had a personal life... (a what?) like things i don't consider 'work'...
  • 2 new babies were born in my family! i'm the aunt of 5! holy shit!
  • Started dating someone- who is really amazing.
  • some ohio friends came ALL the way to maine to see me- holy smokes- that's so great!
  • i got to dance over bad little falls and experience the magic of celebration (bfb)
  • traded vehicles, and now have a car that- for now- runs smoothly.
  • made new amazing friends from all over the county- and feel incredibly lucky and blessed to know so many folks who i love and care about.
  • i screen printed something! me! i did that (and will continue to, i think)
  • made a zine for my nephews- and shared it in a public way
  • actually started to learn the banjo- then forgot and will re-learn in 2012
  • i made 13 blog posts (many of which, have more details about the things listed on here...)
  • my aunt and uncle moved to central ohio- win!
  • my grandmother moved away from central ohio- not win.
  • mama went to dc to stop the xl pipeline (ok, i didn't have anything to do with it, but it's just SO dang cool!)
  • i read some great books:
The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), Bossypants (tina fey), Prodigal Summer (barbara Kingsolver), Girl with the dragon tattoo (0% recommended), The Dispossesed (ursula k le guin), Percepolis: the story of a childhood (again; marjane satrapi) Parable of the Sower (octavia butler), Flood! (Erik Drooker), sister outsider (audre lorde), Blankets (Craig Thompson), Kindred (Octavia Butler), Off the Map (crimethInc), The Red Tent (Anita Diamant), the Gnome Lexicon (illustrated by my friend, nate!), and read lots of zines.
  • i finally filled the journal i've been writting in since early hs- the first date being '4/23/06 3:02 am' the last being '9/9/2011' Actually, there are about 20 blank pages, but I wanted to start a new one so i could bring a smaller book to journal in on tour-- which i did- and successfully made a entry EVERYDAY of tour. wham!
Looking back through my old journal, i found a page, where i am struggling with the 'why bother?'-ness of the world. I actually wrote, that i wanted 'a cause to believe in, a reason to be here...' (3/9/07) During that time in my life, I wouldn't say I was happy. These days, I continue to struggle, much of which is a similar internal debate about life and what I will do with it. But the tone is different, and at the beginning of this year, i made another entry (1/19/2011, NYC), where I spoke to the struggles in my life, but how i was happy. Actually happy.

Today, that remains true.
  • I went to my first church serivce (that is not a UU- which, I enjoy and doesn't quiet seem to fit into the category of church, in some ways) It was the United Church of Christ in Machias... I went to hear my inspiring friend Cole speak at the service that day.
  • I found out my mother is planning to sell the house I grew up in. Smart, and sad.
  • I have lots of new music to enjoy and listen to. According to my Itunes, the most listened to music that I added in 2011 is: Thao and Mirah (self titled), Jessica Lea Mayfield (tell me); Big Tree (self titled). Itunes says I listened to 2,614 songs in 2011, and my most listened to song? Wild Young Hearts by the Noisettes. (Though, I'm pretty sure that is an inaccurate read of what I actually listen to...)
  • 117 horizontal drilling permits granted in ohio (ok- that isn't really my list of things that i did... but... fuck.)

Looking back through my journal entries from the past year, and generally thinking about 2011, I think I learned one really important thing for myself. I have- on a fundamental level- accepted that my life is a choice. I am the only one who gets to choose what I do, how I do it, when I do it. (of course, there are exceptions to this, and in my opinion, saying there are not is a major act of privilege. for most things in my life, i have that privilege). While I have personally debated this for myself, for much of the year (and probably more), I really had it driven home by a conflict mediator who worked with us this Dec.

This is my life, and I get to choose what to do with it. Everyday, every moment.

It's like having access to a compass rose. I can see where I am, and see whats around me. I get to make the choice where I move, and accept the consequences of that choice, both the foreseen and the unforeseen.

As for what 2012 will bring, I just don't know, but I know I get to decide. I intend to be in Ohio- to live here. Work here, take care of myself and those i love here. At least 6 months. I am having a hard time making a plan for myself, but am picking up a habit i used to be in- creating a wish list for the winter. A list of things I would like to hold myself to, a way to commit to myself (and others) to being more interested, interesting, and having more fun. Here's what I've got- for Jan, Feb, and March.

- ohio rocks presentation

- one book a month

- martial arts once/week

- bread 2x a month (and give one loaf to someone else!)

- love letter to non-here friend 1x month

- stretch 5x a week

- go to one 'new' event a month

- screen print something!

- uphold my commitment made to myself in a PSU workshop

- don't accidentally watch tv

- research organizations in central ohio i can do support work with, that actively fight racism (directly or indirectly)

So, here goes!